MALAYSIANSKINI | But for a quirk of fate, Tenaganita executive director Glorena A Das might have been a singer or a police officer. Yet when her brother recommended that she check out a job vacancy at the migrant workers' rights organisation in December 1999, it set her on a path that requires bravery, compassion and fortitude in equal measure.
“I truly believe that it was the affected communities who drew me to this line of work, the local women in the plantation (their simplicity), migrant workers (humbleness), sex workers (fearlessness), people living with HIV/Aids (need to live), refugees and asylum seekers (resistance), stateless children (seeking to belong) and victims/ survivors of human trafficking (hope).
“They have been the inspiration of the work which I continue at Tenaganita. Over the years, they continue to humble me with their struggles and fight for equal rights and dignity,” Glorene told Malaysiakini.
Glorene told the tale of Mila (not her real name) who was only 14 when she was brought to Malaysia from Bangladesh to work as a domestic worker. After a few weeks at work, her quest for a better life became its darkest chapter.
“She was severely abused and assaulted by the employer and his wife, which landed her in hospital for several months.
“When I went to see her, she was in a coma. I thought she would die. But she regained consciousness after three weeks. We took on her case, encouraging her to pursue her case against her employer, and we were also responsible for sheltering her after she was discharged from hospital,” said Glorene.
A few weeks after Mila was transferred to a government shelter, due to the severe abuse, her colon and intestines needed treatment but she was not provided with the proper follow-ups. As a result, Mila was not able to ...